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Objections to ID #2 :Self-designing watches

Skeptical1
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11/7/2016 4:33:51 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
And so to the intelligent design "proof" from complexity (teleological argument). There are many answers to this - I just want to focus on one - the logical absurdity of it.

Paley produced probably the best known example of this idea in his Natural Theology (1802). He uses the analogy of someone stumbling upon a pocket watch, and upon examining the intricate mechanisms and movements, concluding that the watch designed and assembled itself, or the pieces just happened to form and fall together by chance. If this would be an absurd assertion, asks Paley - how much more absurd is it to assert that the entire universe (which is far more complex than a pocket watch), could design itself? In actual fact, versions of this "proof" go back to at least Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. The problem with it is quite simple, and can be stated as follows:

What is the basis for the traveler's conclusion that the watch is too complex to have come about by "natural" causes? This implies that there is a reference object to which it can be compared that isn't too complex to have not needed a designer. Like maybe a tree, or a blade of grass, or an ant sitting on the blade of grass. Or a bacterium living in the gut of the ant. Or a water molecule inside the bacterium. But modern science tells us that all of these are in fact complex structures in themselves. Which one out of this list will an ID advocate admit could exist without being designed? Even at the tiniest level - a hydrogen atom in the water inside the cell - if the strong, weak and electromagnetic forces were not perfectly balanced, the atom would collapse in on itself or fly apart, meaning the universe as we know it could not exist. Could this "fine-tuning" occur without intelligent design? Those who believe ID is needed at any level will likely tell you not.

Furthermore, the same presumably applies to the rock sitting on the ground next to the watch. It is formed from minerals and crystals which have complex structures, and possibly even microscopic remains of dead animals which certainly didn't design themselves (according to IDers).

If you pin them down, according to ID advocates, nothing is so simple that it could exist without a designer. At this point some will gleefully rub their hands together and exclaim "see, this is what we have been saying all along!". However, they miss the point entirely. If there is NO object which could have come about without an intelligent agency, then our hiking friend has nothing to compare his "intelligently designed" watch to. Thus, he may as well assume it sprang into existence by chance.
bulproof
Posts: 25,295
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11/7/2016 2:17:30 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
IDers are incapable of determining design, the Paley argument had them all cumming in their pants until it was pointed out to them that the rock on which his rock was found was, according to them, designed.
Does that make IDers incredibly stupid because they didn't recognise the rock as being designed?
According to IDers the word designed is synonymous with exists. The emptiness of space is so complex it must have been designed the emptiness within a godists head was obviously designed.
bulproof
Posts: 25,295
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11/7/2016 2:18:55 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/7/2016 2:17:30 PM, bulproof wrote:
IDers are incapable of determining design, the Paley argument had them all cumming in their pants until it was pointed out to them that the rock on which his *rock was found was, according to them, designed.
Does that make IDers incredibly stupid because they didn't recognise the rock as being designed?
According to IDers the word designed is synonymous with exists. The emptiness of space is so complex it must have been designed the emptiness within a godists head was obviously designed.
Edit *watch.
Skeptical1
Posts: 697
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11/7/2016 11:15:59 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/7/2016 2:17:30 PM, bulproof wrote:

According to IDers the word designed is synonymous with exists.

Precisely.
keithprosser
Posts: 2,053
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11/8/2016 12:54:14 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/7/2016 4:33:51 AM, Skeptical1 wrote:
<stuff>

I am not sure I agree, Skeps. The fact is that if you find a watch on the ground you would be correct to think it was designed.

I think that by any reasonable criterion one can apply, a living thing - say a mouse or a single cell - gives every sign of being designed.

My view is that we evolutionists reject creationism/ID not because the case for evolution is strong but because the notion of a creator or intelligent designer is unacceptable.

That shows up most clearly in the related topic of abiogenesis. I hope you have watched the 'inner life of a cell' video on youtube. It brings home that there is more to a cell than being a dilute solution of organic molecules which is all that has been demonstated so far. It can reasonably be argued that the evidence is actually against abiogenesis. Ok, so perhaps better evidence will come along soon, but I am talking about evidence available now.

We evolutionists embrace abiogenesis not because of the evidence but on the ideological rejection of a creator.

I do not intend this post as begin in support of creationim/ID. However I do think that we evolutionists are flirting with hypocrisy and I'd rather we left that sort of thing to 'the other side'.
Skeptical1
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11/8/2016 1:21:42 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/8/2016 12:54:14 AM, keithprosser wrote:
At 11/7/2016 4:33:51 AM, Skeptical1 wrote:
<stuff>

I am not sure I agree, Skeps. The fact is that if you find a watch on the ground you would be correct to think it was designed.

I think that by any reasonable criterion one can apply, a living thing - say a mouse or a single cell - gives every sign of being designed.

My view is that we evolutionists reject creationism/ID not because the case for evolution is strong but because the notion of a creator or intelligent designer is unacceptable.

That shows up most clearly in the related topic of abiogenesis. I hope you have watched the 'inner life of a cell' video on youtube. It brings home that there is more to a cell than being a dilute solution of organic molecules which is all that has been demonstated so far. It can reasonably be argued that the evidence is actually against abiogenesis. Ok, so perhaps better evidence will come along soon, but I am talking about evidence available now.

We evolutionists embrace abiogenesis not because of the evidence but on the ideological rejection of a creator.

I do not intend this post as begin in support of creationim/ID. However I do think that we evolutionists are flirting with hypocrisy and I'd rather we left that sort of thing to 'the other side'.

You are, of course, entitled to hold this view, but I think we genuinely have different perspectives on this.

I can honestly say I've not heard what I would consider any convincing evidence against abiogenesis. Laboratory experiments have gone a long way to demonstrating how it is possible. Certainly the arguments from "probabilities" are just nonsense. What other arguments are there, apart from "it just can't happen?"

I embrace abiogenesis because it makes perfect sense to me. I don't really think it can be separated from the rest of evolutionary theory, and if you rule out abiogenesis, I don't really see how the rest can't be harmed. I'm not arguing from the consequent here, I'm just saying the theory makes a lot more sense as a whole if you accept that life arose from non-life. Actually, even creationists don't deny this, they just introduce a special being which brought it about.

I haven't seen that video, but providing it's not too long, I'll make time.
keithprosser
Posts: 2,053
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11/8/2016 2:10:52 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/8/2016 1:21:42 AM, Skeptical1 wrote:
<stuff>

It's under 10 minutes long - I think you will find it amazing.

https://www.youtube.com...
Skeptical1
Posts: 697
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11/8/2016 3:05:44 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 11/8/2016 2:10:52 AM, keithprosser wrote:
At 11/8/2016 1:21:42 AM, Skeptical1 wrote:
<stuff>

It's under 10 minutes long - I think you will find it amazing.

https://www.youtube.com...

Indeed it was, and there were a couple of others that "popped up" that I made a note to check out.
Amoranemix
Posts: 521
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11/11/2016 7:17:08 PM
Posted: 4 weeks ago
- Skeptical1
What is the basis for the traveler's conclusion that the watch is too complex to have come about by "natural" causes?[1] This implies that there is a reference object to which it can be compared that isn't too complex to have not needed a designer.[2] Like maybe a tree, or a blade of grass, or an ant sitting on the blade of grass. Or a bacterium living in the gut of the ant. Or a water molecule inside the bacterium. But modern science tells us that all of these are in fact complex structures in themselves.[3] [ . . . ]
[1] To my knowledge no one so far has demonstrated that complexity is a good indicator for design. On the contrary. A watch is not complex, but simple. Of course, that is because no one bothers to define complexity. It just assumed that everyone knows what they are talking about while no one really does. Theists thrive on such false sense of understanding.
[2] Why would it imply that ? If complexity were an indicator for design, then the most simple structure might still be complex enough to be designed.
[3] Except that they are not complex, but simple. Their functions may indeed be complex, but functions are processes, structures or attributes deemed useful by someone, making them subjective. You would have to come up with an objective definition for function and then demonstrate that complex functions are indicative of design.

- keithprosser to OP
My view is that we evolutionists reject creationism/ID not because the case for evolution is strong but because the notion of a creator or intelligent designer is unacceptable.
I don't reject creationism. I just don't see evidence compelling enough to consider it likely. It just fills gaps in my knowledge that are more likely to be filled by a natural explanation.

Double_R have and I have more or less developed a criterion for design in the thread Argument from Intelligent Design " Seriously? http://www.debate.org...

Speciality is an indicator for design. What makes something special is simplicity and improbability.

We even came up with a formula :
SP = " log(# states / max # states) / complexity
Complexity is the length of the shortest description.

So we have that the watch, the universe and life are (probably) all three special, which makes them candidates for the design. However, with the watch we have more : background knowledge.

We don't know of any examples of watches originating naturally, while we would expect to know such examples, if they existed. We are also unaware of any natural process that produces watches, while we would expect to know one if it existed.
On the other hand, even if life or fine-tuned universes could arise naturally, there is no expectation that we would be aware of any such examples or mechanisms by which they could arise. We are too ignorant on those subjects.

In addition, we have strong evidence for the existence of a capable designer of the watch (evidence other than the watch itself). Such evidence is absent in case of the universe and life.
The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth.
Skeptical1
Posts: 697
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11/11/2016 8:05:45 PM
Posted: 4 weeks ago
At 11/11/2016 7:17:08 PM, Amoranemix wrote:
- Skeptical1
What is the basis for the traveler's conclusion that the watch is too complex to have come about by "natural" causes?[1] This implies that there is a reference object to which it can be compared that isn't too complex to have not needed a designer.[2] Like maybe a tree, or a blade of grass, or an ant sitting on the blade of grass. Or a bacterium living in the gut of the ant. Or a water molecule inside the bacterium. But modern science tells us that all of these are in fact complex structures in themselves.[3] [ . . . ]
[1] To my knowledge no one so far has demonstrated that complexity is a good indicator for design. On the contrary. A watch is not complex, but simple. Of course, that is because no one bothers to define complexity. It just assumed that everyone knows what they are talking about while no one really does. Theists thrive on such false sense of understanding.
[2] Why would it imply that ? If complexity were an indicator for design, then the most simple structure might still be complex enough to be designed.
[3] Except that they are not complex, but simple. Their functions may indeed be complex, but functions are processes, structures or attributes deemed useful by someone, making them subjective. You would have to come up with an objective definition for function and then demonstrate that complex functions are indicative of design.

- keithprosser to OP
My view is that we evolutionists reject creationism/ID not because the case for evolution is strong but because the notion of a creator or intelligent designer is unacceptable.
I don't reject creationism. I just don't see evidence compelling enough to consider it likely. It just fills gaps in my knowledge that are more likely to be filled by a natural explanation.

Double_R have and I have more or less developed a criterion for design in the thread Argument from Intelligent Design " Seriously? http://www.debate.org...

Speciality is an indicator for design. What makes something special is simplicity and improbability.

We even came up with a formula :
SP = " log(# states / max # states) / complexity
Complexity is the length of the shortest description.

So we have that the watch, the universe and life are (probably) all three special, which makes them candidates for the design. However, with the watch we have more : background knowledge.

We don't know of any examples of watches originating naturally, while we would expect to know such examples, if they existed. We are also unaware of any natural process that produces watches, while we would expect to know one if it existed.
On the other hand, even if life or fine-tuned universes could arise naturally, there is no expectation that we would be aware of any such examples or mechanisms by which they could arise. We are too ignorant on those subjects.

In addition, we have strong evidence for the existence of a capable designer of the watch (evidence other than the watch itself). Such evidence is absent in case of the universe and life.

An interesting contribution, which makes a number of good points. I'll check out the referenced thread. And you are right, all things considered, simplicity would seem to be a more desirable characteristic than complexity.

In so far as point [2] goes, it seems intuitively obvious to me that if you are going to argue something is so anything as to require a designer, then some object must exist which lacks the anything property to a degree where a designer isn't required. (Replace anything with big, beautiful, complex, useful, or any adjective of your choice). If no such object exists, then the assertion is meaningless.

As for the maths, too early in the morning to want to tackle that right now.